Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cleaning out the Pantry

After all of the extra expenditures this month and some other factors, our budget is pushed to the limit right now.  Our food budget is no exception.  We are just over for the month with one week left.  Luckily, Thanksgiving meals will cover us for a couple of days.  I do need to pick up milk and bread tomorrow to get us through, but I just did my meal plan for the next week and I think we can get by on what we already have in both the pantry and fridge.  We'll just have to get a little creative with lunches if there aren't enough leftovers.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Update: Our kid is with relatives for the week...What's the gameplan?

We had a semi-successful week, although not as cheap as I had hoped.

"First, we want to paint the master bedroom."  Yes, complete. Although we spent a little more than expected because we used the fancier paint store for its color matching service.  In our experience, the home improvement chains just don't do a good job of that.  So we ended up with pricier $40 zero VOC paint (to satisfy my environmentally-conscious side) but we only had to do one coat.  So, now that I think about it, rather than do two coats and buy two gallons of lower quality paint, we saved ourselves some time and only had to do one coat and buy one gallon of good paint.  So the paint cost, in my opinion, was worth it to save some time and hassle.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Our kid is with relatives for the week...What's the gameplan?

My folks are on vacation this week, and living a couple hours away they don't get to see as much of our son as they would like.  I agreed (actually, I jumped) on their offer to keep him for the week.  It will allow me to catch up on some work projects and housework, plus have some quality time with Hubby now that we're both busy with work and school.  I want to definitely have some fun, maybe a cheap date night (complete with a bottle of wine--woohoo!), and also get some projects done that are challenging with a 3 year old around.  I also don't want to go too spend crazy this week trying to complete those projects, since I hadn't really factored anything into our budget at the beginning of the month and we just replaced our car windshield last week.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Six Expenses You Can Reduce or Eliminate that Add Up

1) Ditch the land line. Why do you still have this?  We haven't had one for years and probably never will.  You probably only get calls from telemarketers on your land line.  And the phone companies charge all those stupid taxes and fees.  You don't need it--you can still call 911 on your cell phone.  Switch to your cell phone only.  Cell plans provide more minutes than ever before, and everyone probably calls you on it already anyway.  If you're concerned about going over your minutes, look over your last few bills and the number of "anytime" minutes used.  Only if necessary, research upgrading your plan.  Bumping up your minutes will probably cost you less than your land line.  Tell anyone who IS still calling you on your land line to call your cell from now on, and cut the service.  But before you go too crazy with the cell plan...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Multiple Savings Accounts are the Way to Go!

I hate those pesky bills that come quarterly, semi-annually, annually...They are so easy to forget to factor into our monthly budget because they're irregular.  Though not unexpected. Those companies screw up all the time, charging us this, messing up that, but they never seem to forget to send us those darn bills!

For the past few years (especially since being self-employed and having to save for quarterly estimated taxes) we have been keeping a separate "Annual Expenditures" account for those annoying bills.  Call it whatever you want-"Irregular Expenses", "Stupid Large Bills", etc--but this is the way to save and pay for those bills. In our account, we save to cover property taxes, my estimated taxes, car insurance, car tags and inspections, homeowners association dues, life insurance, a yearly vet appointment, yearly dental appointments...you get the picture.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Why I Will Never Again Buy Laundry Detergent

To fill you in, Hubby was unemployed for most of 2010. Before his job loss, I thought we were doing laundry fairly cheaply by buying a huge bottle of generic detergent at a warehouse club or Target, washing only on the cold setting, doing only full sized loads, and hanging everything to dry (with the exception of sheets and towels.)  While we had begun preparing for the possible loss of his job by boosting our savings and cutting back on 'wants' in the 6 months or so beforehand, we were still unprepared financially for the cut to his income.  He was the breadwinner and I am self-employed (i.e. salary can be unpredictable from year to year, or even season to season.) We didn't make a bundle of money to begin with, so our spending and budgets were pretty bare bones to begin with and there was little leftover for savings, or at least, I consider it little (about $300-400/month).